A water line replacement project in downtown Latrobe continues to push forward, engineer Mark Gera of Gibson-Thomas Engineering Co. Inc. told Latrobe Municipal Authority (LMA) Board of Directors members at Tuesday’s authority meeting.

Gera said contractor Jet Jack Inc. is moving along with the project, noting that a stretch of unseasonably warm weather over the past month allowed workers to complete some permanent paving work. Gera said blacktop can be put down as long as the temperature remains at 40 degrees and rising.

Gera noted last month that the contractor is moving around to different city streets to try to finish up all the intersections that will be impacted as soon as possible because of an upcoming Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) improvement project scheduled for numerous intersections downtown. He said PennDOT plans to begin work in March, while the water line project is slated to be finished in April.

According to a post Tuesday on the authority website, customers throughout the LMA service area may experience dirty water because of recent work tied to the water line replacement project. The post said that “a tie-in was completed at the intersection of Main Street and Alexandria Street that required water service to be turned off in the area. Water service is being slowly restored, but customers may continue to experience dirty water until lines are cleared.”

In August, Jet Jack Inc. was awarded the project contract with a bid of roughly $1.8 million.

Aside from the water line improvements, the project calls for the replacement of 11 nearby fire hydrants. Engineers said the work includes the “traffic loop” at Lloyd Avenue and Unity Street, a section that wasn’t done as part of this year’s water line replacement work along Route 981.

The authority board previously approved a resolution to borrow $2,456,993 through the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority (PennVEST) for the project. The state loan has a term of 20 years with a 1% interest rate, state Rep. Joseph Petrarca said in a news release.

The project will replace approximately 7,000 feet of 100-year-old cast iron water lines along several city streets, including the intersection of Ligonier and Main streets and portions of Spring and Weldon streets, Gibson-Thomas said.

According to the news release, the LMA said “replacing the lines will reduce unaccounted-for water loss below 20%. In 2018, the unaccounted-for water loss was estimated at 40%.”

Without the PennVEST financing, more than 8,000 families would have seen fees increase almost 35% to cover the costs, Petrarca said.

The water line work is being done in preparation for improvements to nine city intersections next spring at Depot, Ligonier and Main streets. City officials said other intersection upgrades include updated traffic signals and handicapped-accessible curb ramps, along with fresh pavement.

In eastern Latrobe, Gera said restoration work related to a 16-inch water line project will be done in the spring. He said $100,000 for the project is being retained for restoration, which he noted is “more than adequate” to do the work.

Previously, the project replaced water lines near Carpenter Technology Corp.-Latrobe Specialty Metals, near the Sheetz store along Route 982 and from Cedar Street to the new Latrobe Elementary School.

The authority board also reorganized for 2020 on Tuesday, appointing Ellen Keefe as chairwoman, Charles Dominick as vice chairman, Carl “Skip” Bollinger as treasurer, Ann Amatucci as secretary, Neal Fenton and John Fournier as assistant treasurers, Rennie & Associates as auditor, Gibson-Thomas Engineering Co. Inc. as consulting engineer and Lee Demosky as solicitor.

In other business, the authority board:

  • Approved payments in the water department, including: $223,851.41 to Ligonier Construction for 16-inch transmission line replacement work, and a total of $17,341.50 to Gibson-Thomas for line replacement work, Brewery Bridge utility attachment work, chlorine residual design and pump station replacements;
  • Approved PennVEST water department requisition payments of $284,002.66 to Jet Jack Inc. and $21,332.50 to Gibson-Thomas for water line replacement work;
  • Approved payments in the wastewater department, including: $477,786.15 to Mele & Mele & Sons Inc. and $18,113 to Gibson-Thomas to work on the equalization tank; $205,789.95 to Glenn Johnson Inc. for Nine Mile Run reconstruction work; $139.36 in legal fees to Meyer Darragh related to the equalization tank and Nine Mile Run project, and $11,723 to Gibson-Thomas on Nine Mile Run reconstruction work;
  • Approved change order deduct in the amount of $44,333 to Glenn Johnson Inc. because of a different design used for chambers related to the project. Gera said the contractor has installed all the pipe tied to the project into the area north of Route 30. Another project deduct, which Gera noted would provide a savings of approximately $100,000, is expected to be considered at next month’s meeting;
  • Approved financial statements for the water and wastewater departments from Jan. 1, 2019, through Dec. 31, 2019;
  • Approved an invoice of $1,905.46 to Demosky for wastewater department business;
  • Went into an executive session related to a litigation matter on the water department side.

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